Safety should be a top priority for any business owner. Whether you work in an office that only sees a handful of employees each day, or you run a consumer-based business where you have to work with multiple customers, it should always be your goal to keep everyone who enters as safe as possible.
Unfortunately, accidents can happen.
In the U.S., falls (both on the job and off) account for over 8 million hospital visits each year. While accidents can sometimes be unavoidable, they can also be a disaster for business, and a personal injury attorney may need to get involved. There are many personal injury attorneys offering high-quality legal assistance, and while that’s a good thing for the individual who was injured, it could be a bad thing for you if your business gets sued.
So, when can your business get sued for a personal injury? The more you know about the basics, the more steps you can take to keep things safer.
The Elements of a Negligence Claim
In order to sue a business for personal injury, a person has to be able to prove the business was negligent in their safety practice. They must prove a duty of care, a breach of that duty, and the harm that was caused by the breach.
Let’s talk a bit more about what each of those elements really means.
Duty of Care
Most courts understand that it’s impossible for a business to avoid all potential injuries. But, businesses still need to provide as many safety features as possible for those who enter onto the premises. Because of that, there are reasonable standards that courts tend to consider when it comes to the safety measures businesses should take, including:
- Regular inspection of the premises for anything harmful/dangerous
- Regular cleaning of the building
- Using “wet floor” or “caution” signs
- Repairing cracked or elevated pavements on walkways leading up to the building
- Placing non-slip mats or rugs near doorways
If you fail to meet these reasonable standards, it’s likely someone injured at your business would have a strong case against you. Of course, they would have to prove the breach of duty, as stated above. That sometimes requires the testimony of an expert witness.
Harm Caused by the Breach
In addition to proving that a business was neglectful, someone suing for personal injury also has to be able to prove how they were injured and what the extent of those injuries really are.
Keep in mind that harm can take the form of many things, including emotional distress and pain and suffering.
The injured individual can also bring up:
- Loss of wages due to injury
- Medical bills
- Quality of life impairment due to injury
The person as to prove that the injuries were, indeed, caused by a breach of duty by your business and not something else, like their own clumsiness, an untied shoelace, etc.
If all of this sounds a bit daunting and scary, don’t let it overwhelm you. Thankfully, it’s not difficult to put reasonable practices in place that can keep your business protected from a personal injury lawsuit. Make it a priority today, keep your employees and your customers safe, and keep your business’ longevity secure in the process.